We all love travelling and vacations, but sometimes this stops when your family begins. Although, it doesn’t have too.
For many people, the stress of a flight and having a vacation abroad is too much with a little one — and the result is that many families have “staycations” for a good proportion of their children’s early years. However, going on vacation doesn’t have to be all screaming toddlers and traumatic travelling; it can be an amazing experience for your whole family, as well as a chance for you to relax as parents too!
In this post, we’ve covered some of the best destinations for parents and babies; places that are great to visit as a young family.
Sound appealing? Read on…
Recommended reading: 17 Insider Tips for Traveling With A Baby
1. The Algarve, Portugal
Portugal is a great destination for families with small children — especially if you’re visiting from the UK, where it’s only a few hours on a flight (thus minimizing any stress of flying with a little one).
In particular, The Algarve is a great choice for a parental holiday — the coastline is beautiful with beaches aplenty, and the incredible cuisine stars lots of fresh seafood.
Due to the Algarve being built up for a number of years as a popular tourist destination, it’s full of resort towns that are perfect for family breaks. You can choose between the more built-up hotel resorts of Albufeira, or opt for quieter villages such as Sagres. You’ll have everything you need at your doorstep, from kid-friendly restaurants to easy access to sandy beaches, but if you want to explore some of the more rugged coastline and quieter areas, you can also hire a car.
It’s best to go in shoulder season months like May or September to avoid the crowds and any unpleasantly hot temperatures for your baby — you’ll still get sunshine and pleasant temperatures.
2. Costa Rica
If you’re travelling from the US, then Costa Rica should definitely be top of your list of parental holiday destinations, especially if you’re the sort of family who loves nature and being outdoors. This small but mighty Central American country is friendly, full of exotic wildlife, beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and best of all — baby-friendly.
Costa Rica is a great family destination, with child-friendly hotels and resorts, baby budget-friendly options, and plenty of activities that both you and your baby will love.
In fact, it’s jam-packed full of incredible things to do and places to explore, as well as having nearly 300 gloriously picturesque beaches. Costa Rica is full of beautiful beaches to visit — whether you want to lounge on the sandy shores, paddle in the tropical shallows with your little one, or even get involved in extreme sports.
The main hopes you have as a new parent travelling with a baby is that your destination will be clean and safe for your little one, enjoyable for you as parents, and fun for all the family. Japan is one of those countries that fulfil all of these family-holiday wishes and more.
One of the best baby-friendly places to travel in Asia, Japan is super clean, has one of the most reliable transport systems in the world, and is full of amazing baby facilities. That’s right — we’re talking private nursing cubicles, microwaves for milk and food, changing facilities and play centres aplenty. There are also many baby and breastfeeding-friendly cafes in Tokyo too.
Not to mention that the entire country is fascinating and varied — providing you with lots to explore, but also giving your baby plenty of visually stimulating colours and shapes to take in, from the bright lights of Tokyo to the cherry blossom of Mount Yoshino.
If you want a family-friendly European beach holiday without resigning yourself to the Costa del Sol, then why not hit Malta instead?
This tiny Mediterranean island is perfect for parents looking to soak up a bit of sun at a baby-friendly destination while still enjoying some culture and amazing Maltese food (you will become obsessed with pastizzi). It’s easy to get around too, with plenty of cheap air-conditioned buses and easy car hire.
If you want a beachy holiday, then head to Mellieha at the top of the island — this chilled town has a handful of good restaurants, lots of cheap holiday apartments, and is just up the hill from arguably the best beach on Malta. Mellieha Bay is perfect for babies and toddlers: the golden sand is perfect for playing, and the shallow bay provides safe, calm, warm waters that are great for a first swim. Għajn Tuffieħa (pronounced Ayn tu-fee-ha) and Golden Bay Beach are also nearby if you want to vary your beach days. Just be warned, it’s very busy in the peak of summer!
Popeye Village is an awesome day-trip for parents with toddlers or younger children — once the set of the 1980 Popeye musical, it is now a mini theme-park featuring a splash pool, inflatables, water trampolines, and mini-golf. Well worth the visit for little ones.
- 10 Top Things You MUST Do in Gozo, Malta
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- Malta Ultimate Travel Guide: All you need to know!
- 12 Foods You Must Try in Malta
5. Vancouver, Canada
Fancy something different, but without the stress of having to navigate a new country in a different language? Canada has you covered. Obviously, this country is vast, so we’ve picked out the Vancouver area as one of the most baby-friendly parts of Canada.
Vancouver is an awesome city positioned between the mountains and the sea; full of nooks and crannies to explore, as well as easy access to the great outdoors. So whether you want to take a walk through Stanley Park, relax on Kitsilano Beach, visit Vancouver Aquarium, or go whale watching, you’ll have no shortage of exciting things to do for both you and little ones.
6. Tuscany, Italy
Just because you have a baby, it doesn’t mean that you have to surrender yourself to a world of all-inclusive holidays and baby creches. Sophistication and culture are still within your reach — and what better way to embrace this than with a trip to Tuscany?
Italy has it all: warm sunshine, gorgeous architecture, a culture steeped in history, a world-famous cuisine. And one region that epitomizes this is the beautiful Tuscany. Indulge in lovingly-made pizza, pasta and ice cream — appetizing in equal measure to both baby and adult tastebuds.
Many of the towns and cities that make up the gently rolling hills of Tuscany are baby-friendly and can be easily navigated with a buggy or tottering toddler. Lucca, in particular, is perfect for pushchair-pushing. This medieval walled-town is flat and small, as well as having restrictions on the number of cars let into the centre. This means you can wander around in relative peace exploring piazzas without the busy roads and loud cars that clog up larger cities like Florence.
Recommended reading: 17 Insider Tips for Traveling With A Baby